The lockdown in March at the onset of the pandemic gave L.A. a much-needed breath of fresh air. Environmental Protection Agency data showed the city experienced its longest stretch of “good” air quality since at least 1995.
UCLA School of Public Health’s Dr. Yifang Zhu found a 20% improvement in overall air quality in Southern California between March 16 and April 6, when the stay-at-home order went into effect and fewer cars were on the road.
Unfortunately, air quality is declining again. Traffic has picked up. Transportation is already the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in California.
And now, with wildfires raging across the state, air quality is especially poor. The plumes of thick smoke wafting through the California air from the fires contain hazardous particulate matter and ozone.
Air pollutants affect human health, and staying healthy is incredibly imperative at the moment. Here are three things you can do to help clear the air and allow all Angelenos to breathe easier.
Choose to walk or bike instead of driving a car. Active transportation is the most sustainable way to go – and the healthiest overall. Enjoy a host of physical and mental health benefits when you skip the drive and reduce air pollution by putting a cap on those harmful emissions that come out of the car’s tailpipe.
Riding the bus and rail is an environmentally friendly way of getting around. Public transportation moves more people in less vehicles, reducing the amount of pollutants entering the air. Transit also helps reduce congestion, which reduces emissions from cars stuck in traffic. With heightened cleaning practices, required face coverings, and measures to enforce social distancing, these travel systems are a safe option for essential trips.
No idling! Idling is leaving a vehicle’s engine running when parked and is a significant contributor to air pollution. Idling your vehicle for just 10 minutes puts approximately one pound of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Keep these fumes out of the air and switch off your engine when it’s stationary.
Air pollution affects quality of life for everyone. Take action for cleaner air and improve the health of people and the planet.
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